AN EXCHANGE programme of staff is taking place between a hospice and a care home.
A nurse and a nursing assistant from Rosebridge Court care home in Wigan each spent a week working alongside the nursing and medical teams on the Inpatient Unit at Wigan and Leigh Hospice in Greater Manchester to learn more about palliative and end of life care.
As part of the exchange programme of staff a nurse and a healthcare assistant from the hospice’s inpatient unit will go to work at Rosebridge Court for a week each in the New Year.
The programme was initiated by Debbie Dempsey, Manager of the Hospice In Your Care Home team at the hospice. The team had already been working with Rosebridge Court for two years as part of their work to support local care homes to both improve the care they deliver to residents at the end of life and reduce unnecessary hospital admissions.
Debbie said: “There haven’t been many instances as far as I’m aware of an exchange programme of this sort taking place between a hospice and a care home. However, this was something both Rosebridge and ourselves were keen to try. Our aim is to try and raise awareness of the barriers to delivering end-of-life care in diverse settings. The care home staff have experienced how we do it here and will take back learnings to implement in their care home. In return our staff will be exposed to the challenges that the care home staff face and learn from them in return.
“Rosebridge Court has specialist mental health and dementia units so spending time there will give our staff the opportunity to learn more about caring for patients at the end of life who also have mental health problems.”
Staff Nurse Jamie Duncan-Noke, 31, from Rosebridge Court spent a week with the IPU team from October 8th-14. Jamie works on a generalised mental health unit for adults aged 18-65 which currently has 22 residents. He said: “I work on a specialist mental health unit and I thought it would be a really interesting opportunity to see an alternative place of care, particularly given what the hospice offers to the community.
“While I’ve been at the hospice I have helped with re-positioning a syringe driver and learnt more about the controlled drugs used in palliative care. I feel quite humbled that I have had this opportunity and it makes me want to develop my knowledge more in palliative care and the principles and practices behind it.
“This experience has made me think differently. When someone on my unit does have palliative care needs I’ll feel more prepared for it professionally and personally. Now I feel more comfortable and confident to be able to support individuals approaching the end of life.”
Tess Morales, 50, works as a Nursing Assistant on the dementia unit at Rosebridge Court. She spent a week in October (15th-19th) shadowing Healthcare Assistant Dawn Harrison on the Inpatient Unit.
Tess said: “I have been at Rosebridge for about 12 years so when I heard about this programme I thought it would be a great experience and an opportunity to learn more about end-of-life care.
“I’ve enjoyed spending time with patients and I’ve seen how the nursing staff speak to families and patients about their wishes. That way of communicating with people who are at the end of their life, the respect shown and the importance of understanding their wishes, is something I will take back with me.”
In December the Hospice In Your Care Home team will visit Rosebridge Court to find out what changes have been implemented as a result.
The Hospice In Your Care Home team has been a regular presence in nursing homes in Wigan Borough, Greater Manchester, since November 2015. The team works closely with nursing home staff to provide training and equip them with the practical skills and knowledge they need to provide sensitive, timely and compassionate end of life care.
Education programmes have been delivered on how to communicate in difficult or distressing situations such as talking to residents or their families about a patient’s future care needs. Staff have also been trained in how to recognise when someone is nearing the end of their life and how to anticipate what medication and pain relief may be needed.
Their next national conference ‘Living and Dying Well in a Care Home’ takes place on March 13th, 2019 at Leigh Sports Village, Greater Manchester. For further information and bookings see ww.wlh.org.uk or telephone 01942 525566.